LodgeRainbowRelectedv11-1200x800.jpg

October 5, 2021 Duane Foerter0

Well, that was Season #31… it took a little while to get going but when our guests arrived it was all systems go!  The delayed opening this summer found us moving our staff onsite a full 2-weeks before opening day on July 2nd – but that extra week of training and preparation provided a crew whose huge enthusiasm was only matched by that of our excited guests.

So that’s why we want to send out a huge Thank You to our 2021 Crew for coming through for us this season, despite all the uncertainty and delays, they totally brought their A-game and gave it all this season at QCL!  We all appreciate you!

By any measure it was a great summer – the weather was above average, the fishing was good overall and the wildlife viewing opportunities were exceptional.  Along with the “normal” daily humpback whale sightings, this summer there was a sizeable pod of northern resident Orcas traveling and feeding back and forth between Rose Spit and Langara Island; with viewing opportunities lasting all summer long.  No matter how often we see whales, it just never gets old!

Our talented culinary team delivered an exciting new menu this summer featuring many of the delicious products available through our Taste of B-Sea program.  Of course, our guests will be keen to try these dishes at home with some of the amazing fish going back in their own fish boxes!  But keep in mind that throughout the winter you’ll still be able to order local specialties like smoked sablefish, BC spot prawns and albacore tuna loins!

Our Covid-19 protocols were highly appreciated by both guests and staff, easing some of the uncertainty that we’ve all been dealing with.  We want to say a big Thank You to all for getting on board and supporting our efforts to keep everyone safe.  Working together is the best way forward and we appreciate all your help.

With progress on vaccinations and easing of restrictions we were able to host guests from across Canada on opening day and on August 9th we could welcome vaccinated visitors from the USA.  Interestingly, by the end of this abbreviated season we had hosted more British Columbians than in any other year!  That’s fantastic!

Now the key priority is coming back in 2022 – there are lots of guests with reservations for next summer who booked their trips in Fall 2019.  But they couldn’t visit in 2020 or 2021, so they’re extra keen to get up here in 2022!   Certainly, the calendar is looking pretty crowded!  So if you haven’t secured your dates for next summer we can’t overemphasize the need to get on that as soon as you can, because they’re going fast!  Avoid disappointment, have a look at our Dates & Rates page and give us a call.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

 


NDTR_QCL3-1200x675.jpg

September 25, 2021 Duane Foerter0

Thursday September 30 is the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to honour the survivors of Canadian residential institutions and those who never made it home. We all know people in our community who live and struggle with the sad legacy of these schools. We all have a role to play in reconciliation. We can all listen, learn, and support the healing needed to address the intergenerational trauma caused by the residential school system. Reconciliation is not just the responsibility of government–it is a responsibility that belongs to all Canadians.   The QCL office will be closed on September 30 in recognition.


NH_QCL_Vax2a-1200x675.jpg

August 17, 2021 Duane Foerter0
Getting ready to open for our 2021 season, one major consideration was having our staff vaccinated to ensure their safety and that of our guests and the community.  With some effort on everyones part, we’re proud to say that we got it done before they came up to the lodge.  But we’d only been open a few days when we realized that the “second jab” would come due for each of them all throughout the summer.  Of course, in a location as remote as Naden Harbour, mobility is a major challenge, but we had to find a solution.
 
Thankfully for us, that solution was provided with the ultimate in care and professionalism by a wonderful team of nurses and doctors from Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre in Masset. Preparations were all made in advance and the medical team was picked up and delivered to the lodge where they set up their makeshift vaccination clinic in the Totem House lounge.  Over the 8-hour schedule we managed to provide that critical second dose of vaccine to more than 100 of our staff from every department.  The nurses even did live updates to the database so every staff received a notification confirming their vaccination.  We pride ourselves on service and can happily verify that this team from Masset went above and beyond to take care of our staff… top shelf!  Thank you so very much!

Lingcod-Tentsuyu-w-1-1200x675.jpg

August 10, 2021 Duane Foerter0

A challenging but very rewarding fishery here at Queen Charlotte Lodge is the search for lingcod near the underwater peaks and shelves that litter the ocean floor. Feeding on the flood, these aggressive predators snap at nearby bait and lures alike with their powerful jaws and gripping front teeth. Nothing prepares you for the first time you haul up a large ling-dinger and see the head emerge out of the dark depths as you crank away on your sturdy Avet saltwater reel!

Before coming to work at QCL in 2017, most of my saltwater fishing experience consisted of chasing around small lingcod with buzzbombs in the inshore waters of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast region. From my dad, I learned to gut and clean my catch, and how to carefully separate the filets from the carcass. We’d cook the ling with lemon and butter, perhaps some parsley or tarragon if we were feeling adventurous.

Just as my lingcod fishing has evolved, so too has my culinary technique; in the kitchen today, we don’t just stop at lemon, butter and herbs for our lingcod dish. Inspired by similar latitudes on the other side of the North Pacific, the lingcod dish I chose to serve at QCL fuses local line-caught lingcod with Japanese ingredients and techniques for a dish packed with flavour and steeped with memories.

We start by making the tentsuyu broth, which is a slightly sweet Japanese broth commonly served with fried tempura items like tofu, vegetables or ebi. The broth starts with simmering shitake mushrooms, to which we add kombu (a dried kelp), mirin (sweet cooking wine), rice wine vinegar and tamari (gluten free soy sauce). Once these ingredients have begun to release their impressive flavours, we briefly add and steep some katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito flakes). After ten minutes we remove the bonito and simmer the broth for another thirty minutes. The combination of kombu, katsuobushi, and mushrooms imparts an intense umami flavour. Umami is that meaty, savoury mushroomy-anchovy-raw tuna hard to quantify but “you know it when you taste it” taste.

Once our broth is prepared, the rest of the dish comes together quite quickly. Into a hot blue-steel pan we add a tablespoon of grapeseed oil, chosen for its neutral flavour and relatively high smoke point. Our lingcod filet is then slid into the hot pan, with the side first touching the pan intended to be our presentation side once all the cooking is complete. After a few minutes, gently flip the lingcod, and reduce the heat to the pan to just cook the fish through to medium-moist. You don’t want to overcook this lean white fish!

In another hot pan we start a brief sauté of sofrito (onions, garlic, and olive oil), into which we add a season mix of mushrooms, including chanterelles, baby king oyster, maitake (hen of the woods) and shimeji, as well as five Salt Spring Island mussels. After one minute, we add three halved fingerling potatoes which have been braised with some of the tentsuyu broth sous vide (under vacuum) in an immersion circulator. The potatoes are packed with that umami flavour and form the base for the plating of the dish. A short simmer with some vegetable stock under a lid to open the mussels and heat the potatoes through and we are ready to plate.

Into a wide bowl we evenly distribute the halved potatoes, forming a base upon which we can build some height and drama for the finished dish. Naturally allow the mushrooms to fall around the potatoes, settling into the bottom of the bowl. The mussels are placed around the potatoes, showcasing the delicious bite within each shell. On top of this umami platform, we place the just-cooked lingcod filet, crispy golden side up.

The final stage of the dish involves the garnishes, of which there are three. First, we do a quick pickle of thinly sliced radish, just a minute or so in a combination of rice wine vinegar, mirin and a touch of Maldon salt (a large-flaked English sea salt). As the radishes are absorbing the slightly sweet and acidic pickle, we quickly dip a cluster of enoki mushrooms and a few slices of wakame or yakinori (both types of seaweed packed with umami) in a loose tempura batter, and quickly fry them until crispy and golden brown. A quick toss in some house made furikake (a Japanese spice mix consisting of bonito flakes, seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar and salt) and our crispy nori and mushroom hay is ready to crown the piece of fish. The radishes are naturally set up against the other ingredients to showcase their colour contrast and provide some freshness, as well as some balance to the other flavours.

Once we have assembled the stacked potatoes, mussels, mushrooms, seared fish, and garnished with our pickles and crispy components, the last thing to do is to pour some piping hot tentsuyu broth into the bottom of the bowl. The heady aromas, intense layers of umami, seared and flaky white fish, lightly pickled radish, and fun and frivolous crispy tempura garnish are all essential parts to one of my favourite, and deeply personal, dishes on the QCL menu this year.

QCL Chef Chris Green


90616454-w-1200x675.jpg

June 24, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL diningSo it has been a busy start to the 2019 season in the food program for special events and derbies. We have had amazing guests in the private houses and I have enjoyed cooking and coming up with some new dishes.  Now in my fifth season at the lodge, I’m thrilled to see so many returning guests and this year I get to share the experience with my husband Mark Ross. This place has changed our lives.  Every day of every trip, we have the opportunity to create something new and exciting on the culinary front!

QCL diningOur first big event was the Appy Walk to start the season with a bang. We built 3 action food stations offering flaming prawns, a grill station, and a raw bar with many other tasty treats along the Totem House walkway.   Even little projects like a breakfast smoothie bar for groups using the conference center are a source for personal satisfaction.

For the White Gold Derby we smoked a whole 50-pound pig for 20 hours, then plattered and walked it all the way from the main lodge to the dock for the wrap up party. It was a huge hit.

For some groups we bring in fun ingredients and create new dishes and “show food”stations for nightly events.

QCL special eventsNo matter whether I am cooking an intimate dinner for eight in Totem House or 16 on the lawn at the Charlotte House, there is an amazing culinary team with me. We enjoy collaborating to deliver memorable dining events to enhance the fishing and adventure activities our guests are here for.

I love hearing about guest experiences on the water and get excited for all who get to catch the big one. This place is something special for both guests and staff to create a unique and special experience. I am so excited for the months ahead with so many groups left to cook for!

Amanda Ross –Private Event Chef


90613236_w-1200x675.jpg

June 14, 2019 Duane Foerter2

An escape to this remote corner of the world is on the wish list for a lot of people, and for good reason!  It’s definitely an angler’s paradise; those gorgeous chrome-bright salmon sure make an impression on you!  The wilderness seascapes of the fishing grounds are literally overflowing with an abundance of life –both above and below the surface.  Sharing a breath of salt sea air with a feeding humpback whale just a rod’s length off your boat is a sure testament to that – especially while you’re reeling in a nice lingcod off the other side!

Guests staying with us this week got to experience all that and more. Among our guests we were thrilled to host Kevin Costner and his family who were able to enjoy the QCL Experience with us.  We’re so pleased that we were able to show them some beautiful BC wilderness along with some warm QCL hospitality. While they’re returning home with a nice box of fish we hope that their whole family takes along many fond memories of their visit here.

June fishing continues to be very productive with good numbers of Chinook salmon in all weight classes.  Sixteen lucky anglers got to ring the Tyee bell over the past 4 days, celebrating what most would consider the fish of a lifetime. But like we always say, there so much more to it than just fishing!


Bridgeviews2019-1200x675.jpg

May 28, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL DockExciting times at Queen Charlotte Lodge!  As we near the start of the 2019 season with our guests, the excitement in the air in Naden Harbour is amazing!  With the staff arriving last week everyone is eager to learn the QCL way of service and of course do some fishing.

Sunny weather has greeted us the first few days on the water and it is great to see bent rods and big smiles once again. Being able to help many of our staff into their first ever fish reminds you why you enjoy being out there! It’s hard to top the smile after your first Chinook.

On top of all those exciting times on the water the lodge was abuzz yesterday, awaiting the arrival of our new fleet of boats. It was a beautiful sight watching them come into the harbour and into the breakwater. Not a detail was missed in the design of these boats and they look amazing, all parked at the docks. QCL new Bridgeview boats

After running many of our large aluminum boats over the past seasons I cannot wait to take these out on our grounds this summer!  In a future blog update I hope to update everyone on all the amazing features and how they are to fish out of.

We can’t wait to hear the helicopters on Friday and see more of those big smiles!!   Here’s to a great 2019 season!

Ryan Kelly

Watch the arrival of the new boats at QCL dock in Naden Harbour!


70831067w-1200x675.jpg

April 17, 2019 Duane Foerter1

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, made his much anticipated 2019 Fisheries Plan public on April 16.

You may see headlines in the media that say that fishing in British Columbia is shut down. To set the record straight, that is not true. The fact of the matter is that our Department of Fisheries and Oceans is very concerned about the low return levels of Chinooks to the Fraser River. Conservation measures are being taken to protect Fraser River Chinooks. These measures include non-retention of Chinooks in certain southern areas of the province.

The fisheries on the north coast and in Haida Gwaii, adjacent to QCL, are not part of the area considered for these restrictions. We will start the season with normal salmon limits for Chinook – 2 Chinooks per day and 4 in possession. Total salmon limits will also be unaffected with 4 salmon permitted per day and 8 salmon in possession. We will also have no Commercial Fishery in our area. That is fantastic news.

Regarding non-salmon species, there are slight changes in the halibut regulations this season, which we think most anglers will see as positive.  This season anglers will have a choice:

Halibut possession limit is either of:

—- one (1) halibut measuring 90 cm to 126 cm in length (head-on), OR

—- two (2) halibut, each measuring under 90 cm in length (head-on)

—- The daily limit for halibut is one (1).

Limits for Lingcod and Rockfish remain unchanged from 2018.


20170921_130022_001w-1200x1200.jpg

October 4, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Minke whale calfOn Thursday, Sept. 21st, a newborn Minke whale was beached in Naden Harbour on the sandy shore of the Kung village site in Haida Gwaii. Spotted by Andy Adams, caretaker of nearby Samson Lodge, at 10:30 am, he knew he would need a few pairs of hands to get him back into the water. Andy boated down the bay to Queen Charlotte Lodge and asked if we would be able to help. Operations Manager Brad Palmer cleared the rest of the work day so that we could go and assist. What an incredible opportunity! Eight staff members piled into the boat with buckets to see what we could do. The whale was very still when we got there and we were worried that he was sick or injured. He had a few scrapes on his back, which could have resulted from being separated from his mother by a pod of Orcas and chased into the harbour.

Minke whale calfWe’ll never know why he got there but we knew we had to help him. We kept pouring buckets and buckets of water on him to get his temperature down and after a while he perked up a bit and started breathing deeper and moving slightly. He was so young he still had part of his umbilical cord attached and pink pectoral fins. We dug a bit of the sand out from around him to let the water pool there to keep his temperature down as the tide was coming in. High tide was at 2:30 pm, and he was beached right at the high tide line so we knew we only had a brief window of time to get him back in the water. Very carefully we stood in the water with him and repositioned him towards the deeper water. He responded very well and got livelier as the water got deeper around him. We stayed with him in the water while he got his bearings again. In a big burst of energy he flipped his tail and swam out in a small circle, but came right back to us! I guess he wasn’t quite ready to go yet.

Minke whale calfAbout 15 minutes later he made his final exit to the deeper water and stayed around for a few minutes until we couldn’t see him any longer. What an amazing feeling to watch him regain his energy and swim back out into the ocean! What an incredible animal! With a bit of help, we hope he can now find his mother. What an absolute privilege to see a whale up close like that and be able to help him out. We all agreed that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Janelle Stapleton

 

For more information on Minke whales follow this link: http://wildwhales.org/classify/baleen-whales/minke-whale/

Minke whale calf

Minke whale calf